Harvey Weinstein in Early Talks to Settle Civil Lawsuits (Report)

Restitution fund for disgraced movie mogul’s victims being discussed, according to The Wall Street Journal

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Lawyers for Harvey Weinstein are working with insurance companies and the New York attorney general’s office in negotiations that could lead to settling civil lawsuits brought against Weinstein and The Weinstein Co., according to multiple individuals who spoke with The Wall Street Journal.

Weinstein’s lawyers are meeting for two days in early November with women, who have accused the disgraced movie mogul of sexual misconduct, to resolve more than a dozen sexual misconduct cases against Weinstein, including certain legal filings in which lawyers for Bob Weinstein have been named as defendants, according to the Journal.

A restitution fund for the alleged victims is being discussed, though the talks are still in early stages, the Journal reported.

The New York attorney general’s office said in a statement obtained by TheWrap, “Our lawsuit remains active and our investigation remains ongoing. As has been the case from the start, our priorities include ensuring that victims are sufficiently compensated, employees are protecting moving forward, and perpetrators and enablers of the misconduct are not unjustly enriched. I’ll also note that earlier this year, at our office’s urging, TWC released victims and witnesses from non-disclosure agreements. We’ve been encouraging anyone with information to contact our office.”

Lawyers for Weinstein declined to comment on the status of the aforementioned civil lawsuits, but told TheWrap, “These claims are based on false allegations which are meritless, and Mr. Weinstein will continue to defend himself vigorously.”

Lawyers for the victims did not immediately respond to TheWrap.

Among the many civil lawsuits that have been filed against Weinstein in the past year include one filed in Los Angeles by actress Ashley Judd, who accused Weinstein of doing “irreparable damage” to her career by suggesting to director Peter Jackson that she had a bad reputation on set, prohibiting a possible casting in his blockbuster “Lord of the Rings” films. Several other women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault have also filed a class-action RICO suit against him.

Attempts at a restitution fund were previously made during TWC’s attempts to find a new owner, as a bidding group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet and Ron Burkle made provisions for a $90 million fund as part of its $500 million offer for the company. But the sale was killed after the New York Attorney General’s office filed a civil rights lawsuit against TWC. The company and its assets were later bought by private equity firm Lantern Capital for $289 million.

WSJ reports that there are many obstacles to a victims fund being created, the foremost being the sheer number of parties involved in the talks.

Weinstein has frequently denied accusations of sexual assault.